The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education met Thursday night. The board approved an amended budget and agreed to implement a multi-language program. They also received updates on student success and transportation.
- The board passed a new recommended budget to correct its overspending during the last fiscal year — the board spent $1.38 million over projected costs in the fund balance for the 2022-23 school year budget.
- The increase in spending was related to implementing “bold strategies” to hire and retain qualified staff. Jonathan Scott, chief financial officer of CHCCS, said that this increase was “atypical” and that the financial results of the past school year are unexpected.
- “The majority of the overspending this year occurred because of inelastic products that we really don’t have any control over, we have to pay utilities we have to continue to pay for risk management portfolios we just haven’t had an increase from the county to support any kind of cost increase for products,” he said.
- The budget amendment passed unanimously.
- September is National Attendance Awareness Month and the board said CHCCS intends to lessen absences and promote students thriving. The board also read and adopted a proclamation regarding student attendance.
- The district's Instructional Services, Equity and Engagement Division (ISEED) presented a proposal for a new dual language program and requested review and feedback from the board. The CHCCS Dual Language Department is planning to present a recommendation to the board in spring 2024.
- ISEED highlighted the English Learner and Dual Language Programming office and the International Welcome Center as current strengths in the dual language programs. Some of the weaknesses included a lack of resources and a struggle to find bilingual instructors.
- The expansion proposed will seek to improve staff retention and enhance dual language programs in middle and high schools.
- “We can’t afford is to have — which happens sometimes — teachers who are not really proficient in a language, teaching in a Spanish seat,” board member Jillian La Serna, said.
- The ISEED, School Leadership Division and School Support and Wellness Division presented an update on student success from the 2022-23 school year.
- About two-thirds of CHCCS students earned A or B grades, compared to just under 27 percent of all North Carolina students.
- The CHCCS graduation rate was 94.8 percent, which has continued to increase over the past two years.
- “I’m really excited about this direction, I truly think we’re on the right track,” board member Deon Temnesaid.
- The CHCCS transportation department provided an update on transportation services for CHCCS students following an ongoing struggle with driver staffing.
- In March 2023, bus routes were consolidated and 18-year-olds were permitted to be drivers.
- Since then, four drivers have been hired and are in the licensing process. Contracted services costs have been reduced and savings are projected to be $312,000.
- The board will meet with the Orange County Board of County Commissioners and Orange County Schools on Sept. 26 at 7 p.m.